REDMOND — The city of Redmond hit one out of the park when it opened Centennial Park two years ago on the site of its dilapidated and shuttered former city hall.
The park, with its gleaming clocktower, green lawns, brick plaza and “sprayground" fountain, has been a huge draw for recreating families and community events.
Key to the park design was its only structure, a modest 260-square-foot building.
The city is seeking a vendor for the space, accepting requests for proposals until Nov. 30.
“It’s of great value to the city to have someone in the space," said Jon Williams, city economic development project manager. “Both for the services they offer parkgoers and to monitor the fountain, which is required by the health department. It saves us sending a city staffer there every two hours in summer."
One Street Down Cafe, a popular eatery a few blocks away from the park, was operating a satellite business from the park cafe space until recently.
“Their lease was actually up this spring but they agreed to stay through the summer, which was a great benefit to us," said Williams. “But they are expanding their main location and weren’t making the revenue they hoped for at the park."
The challenge of the park’s vendor space is the seasonal nature of Centennial, he said. While customer traffic can be plentiful in summer, and last year during the park times for Redmond’s new ice rink, the rest of the year is slack.
The lease agreement only requires the new vendor remain open seven days a week through summer, said Williams. Any additional operation is up to the vendor.
Nonetheless, it should be possible to have a viable business, he added. Vendors could look beyond food and beverages and offer other services and goods to park goers such as Wi-Fi, sunscreen or games.
“When we went into this before we didn’t have any idea what business potential the space had, the park hadn’t even opened yet," said Williams. “Our expectations this time are to see what people are interested in. They’ll have to use creativity to find the right fit and become a draw unto itself."
A business appealing to families with young children, with a good price point, seems the most logical choice, he said, but anything open and inclusive to everyone would work.
Lease terms have not been set yet. The previous vendor had a nominal rent, said Williams, and he expects the next to be the same because the value to the city is providing services to parkgoers and monitoring the fountain, not making money as a landlord.
Particulars for the RFP can be found on the city’s website, www.ci.redmond.or.us.